USS Little Rock
and other Cleveland Class Cruisers


Builders Data and Ship Specifications

Page last updated: 19 March, 2021

In 1942 eight new light cruisers (CL's) were commissioned, designed to be an improvement to the Brooklyn-Class cruiser. These were to be the new Cleveland-class cruiser. Ultimately 39 ships were projected to be built, however only 27 were actually commissioned. Nine ships of the projected ships were converted to CVL's (small aircraft carriers) while under construction. (These 14,750 ton ships became the Independence class which had all the cruiser armament and superstructures removed, but retained the original cruiser machinery and basic hull.) In addition, three of the anticipated Clevelands were canceled before construction began.

The Cleveland-Class cruiser had twelve 6" / 47 guns in four triple turrets ( 2 forward, 2 aft ) and twelve 5" / 38 guns in twin mounts ( one each on the center line fore and aft and two each on either side of the ship ). As the war proceeded the Navy's planned 1.1" rapid fire AA machine guns were replaced with 20mm and 40mm AA guns. In addition to adding more AA weapons, AA fire control directors were added, and to improve the ability to engage crossing targets, AA guns were mounted on the bow and on the stern.

The Clevelands were mainly used in the Pacific during World War II, but some saw action in Europe and off the coast of Africa. All survived the war and were ultimately decommissioned by 1950, except for Manchester, which remained in service until 1956.


USS Cleveland CL55
USS Cleveland CL 55

Cleveland Class Cruiser
Design Specifications
(Typical)
Type: • Light Cruiser
Displacement: • 11,800 tons (standard)
• 14,131 tons (full)
Length: • Waterline 600 ft. (180 m)
• Overall 608 ft. 4 in. (185.4 m)
Beam: • 63 ft. (20.2 m)
Height: • 113 ft. (34.5 m)
Draft: • 20 ft. (7.5 m) mean
Propulsion: • 4 Babcock & Wilcox, 634 psi boilers
• 4 GE geared steam turbines
• 4 Screws
• 100,000 hp (75 MW) 25,000 hp per shaft
Speed: • 32.5 knots
Complement: • 70 officers
• 1,115 enlisted
Armament: • 12 x 6 " / 47 guns (4 triple turrets)
• 12 x 5 " / 38 dual-purpose guns (6 dual mounts)
• 12 x 40 mm Bofors AA guns
• 20 x 20 mm Oerlikon AA guns
Armor: • Belt: 3.25 - 5 in.
• Deck: 2 in.
• Turrets: 1.5 - 6 in.
• Barbettes: 6 in.
• Conning Tower: 2.25 - 5 in.
Aircraft: • 4 (3?) Seaplanes
Catapults: • 2

Note: Specifications shown above vary somewhat depending on source. It seems that the actual "as-built" configurations vary somewhat from ship to ship.



Original Cleveland-Class Ship Name and Hull Number Designations
CL55 thru 67 CL76 thru 88 CL89 thru 105
USS Cleveland
CL55
Completed USS New Haven
CL76
Reordered as
USS Belleau Wood CVL24
USS Miami
CL89
Completed
USS Columbia
CL56
Completed
USS Huntington
CL77
Reordered as
USS Cowpens CVL25
USS Astoria
CL90
Completed
USS Montpelier
CL57
Completed
USS Dayton
CL78
Reordered as
USS Monterey CVL26
USS Oklahoma City
CL91
Refit as guided
missile cruiser CLG5
USS Denver
CL58
Completed USS Wilmington
CL79
Reordered as
USS Cabot CVL28
USS Little Rock
CL 92
Refit as guided
missile cruiser CLG 4
USS Amsterdam
CL59
Reordered as
USS Independence CVL22
USS Biloxi
CL80
Completed USS Galveston
CL93
Laid up. Refit as guided missile
cruiser CLG3
USS Santa Fe
CL60
Completed
USS Houston
CL81
Completed
USS Youngstown
CL94
Canceled
USS Tallahassee
CL61
Reordered as
USS Princeton CVL23
USS Providence
CL82
Refit as guided
missile cruiser CLG6
USS Buffalo
CL99
Reordered as
USS Bataan CVL29
USS Birmingham
Completed USS Manchester
CL83
Completed USS Newark
CL100
Reordered as
USS San Jacinto CVL30
USS Mobile
CL63
Completed Un-named
CL84
Canceled USS Amsterdam
CL101
Completed
USS Vincennes
CL64
Completed USS Fargo
CL85
Reordered as
USS Langley CVL27
USS Portsmouth
CL102
Completed
USS Pasadena
CL65
Completed USS Vicksburg
CL86
Completed USS Wilkes-Barre
CL103
Completed
USS Springfield
CL66
Refit as guided
missile cruise CLG7
USS Duluth
CL87
Completed USS Atlanta
CL104
Completed
USS Topeka
CL67
Refit as guided
missile cruiser CLG8
Un-named
CL88
Canceled USS Dayton
CL105
Completed


The 27 Cleveland-Class Cruisers, listed by Original Builder
Bethlehem (1) Cramp & Sons (2) New York Ship (3) Newport News (4)
USS Vincennes CL64 USS Miami CL89 USS Cleveland CL55 USS Birmingham CL62
USS Pasadena CL65 USS Astoria CL90 USS Columbia CL56 USS Mobile CL63
USS Springfield; CL66 USS Oklahoma City CL91 USS Montpelier CL57 USS Biloxi CL80
USS Topeka CL67 USS Little Rock CL 92 USS Denver CL58 USS Houston CL81
USS Providence CL82 USS Galveston CL93 USS Santa Fe CL60 USS Vicksburg CL86
USS Manchester CL83 - - - - USS Wilkes-Barre CL103 USS Duluth CL87
- - - - - - - - USS Atlanta CL104 USS Amsterdam CL101
- - - - - - - - USS Dayton CL105 USS Portsmouth CL102
(1) Bethlehem Ship Building Corp. - Quincy, MA
(2) William Cramp & Sons Shipbuilding Co. - Philadelphia, PA
(3) New York Shipbuilding Corp. - Camden, NJ (* See Note 1. below.)
(4) Newport News Shipbuilding and Drydock Company - Newport News, VA


Notes:

All nine (9) Cleveland-class hulls that were converted to Independence-class light carriers were built and converted by New York Shipbuilding, Camden New Jersey. Those carriers, their original and ultimate names, and their fates are as follows:

  • Independence (ex-Amsterdam); sunk as a target Jan 51.
  • Princeton (ex-Tallahassee); sunk during Battle of Leyte Gulf 24 Oct 44.
  • Belleau Wood (ex-New Haven); scrapped Sep 60.
  • Cowpens (ex-Huntington); scrapped Nov 59.
  • Monterey (ex-Dayton); stricken Jun 70.
  • Langley (ex-Fargo, ex-Crown Point); scrapped 1964.
  • Cabot (ex-Wilmington); scrapped October 2000.
  • Bataan (ex-Buffalo); scrapped Sep 59.
  • San Jacinto (ex-Newark, ex-Reprisal); stricken Jun 70.



Plans for Cleveland-Class Cruiser Conversions
to
Guided Missile Cruisers

Towards the end of World War II serious airborne threats appeared. The Germans deployed guided glider bombs that made it possible for a bomber to attack a ship without coming very close to it. The Japanese Kamikazes showed how much damage a guided missile could do if it hit a ship. It became evident well before 1950 that surface-to-air missiles would be the weapon of choice against such threats.

In the mid-1940's "Project Bumblebee", underway at the Applied Physics Lab (APL), was working to develop a ramjet-powered surface-to-air missile (SAM). The eventual outcome of this project produced the Terrier, Tarter and Talos missiles. Rear Adm. H. G. Bowen who headed the Navy's R & D recognized that new SAM's would require large ships to house the missiles and their guidance radars. Destroyers at that time were too small, and battleships were too large. Cruisers seemed to be the appropriate choice, especially in that there were a large number of them that were no longer needed for traditional cruiser missions.

Ultimately the Boston and Canberra, two Baltimore-class heavy cruisers were converted to CAG 1 and 2 respectively in 1952. Each ship had two Terrier launchers aft, retaining the original 8-inch gun turrets forward.

In addition, six of the retired Cleveland-class light cruisers were reactivated in the mid-50's and converted into missile ships, three as Galveston-class ( CLG-3, CLG 4, and CLG-5 ) and three as Providence-class ( CLG-6, CLG-7, and CLG-8 ). (See following chart.)



Cleveland Class Missile Cruiser Conversions
Converted to Galveston-Class (Terrier Missiles)
Old Hull # Name New Hull #
CL-93 Galveston CLG-3
CL 92 Little Rock (F) CLG-4
CL-91 Oklahoma City (F) CLG-5
Converted to Providence-Class (Terrier Missiles)
Old Hull # Name New Hull #
CL-82 Providence (F) CLG-6
CL 66 Springfield (F) CLG-7
CL-67 Topeka CLG-8

(F) = Conversion included Flag Facilities




Cleveland-Class to
Galveston-Class Conversions

In the 1950's BuShips sought a conversion candidate for the new larger, ramjet-powered Talos missile. In 1957 three ships were selected for conversion and re-designated as Galveston-class guided missile light cruisers. The first to be converted was Galveston CLG 3, which was recommissioned in 1958. It was followed by two ships with similar conversions except that they had flag facilities. These were Little Rock CLG 4 and Oklahoma City CLG 5.

During the two year refits, on all three ships, the two aft 6-inch turrets and three aft 5-inch mounts were removed and the aft superstructure was completely replaced to make room for the new twin-arm Talos launcher and a 46 missile storage magazine. Three large masts were also installed to hold a variety of new radars, missile guidance, and communications systems. In the two flag conversions, the forward "B" 6-inch turret and two of the forward 5-inch gun mounts were removed; the third 5-inch twin mount was relocated to the vacated "B" turret position, and the superstructure was expanded to provide the flag accommodations.

All three ships served into the 1970's. In the 1975 cruiser realignment, Little Rock and Oklahoma City were reclassified as Guided Missile Cruisers (new designation of "CG"). Two of the ships were stricken from the Naval Vessel Register in 1973 and 1979 (Galveston and Oklahoma City respectively), with the Little Rock being preserved as a museum.



Galveston-Class Cruiser Design Specifications
Ship(s): Galveston Little Rock Oklahoma City
Type: • Guided Missile Cruiser, Light • Guided Missile Cruiser, Light • Guided Missile Cruiser, Light
Displacement: • 14,131 tons (full) • 15,205 tons (full) • 15,205 tons (full)
Length: • Overall 608 ft. 4 in. (185.4 m)
• Waterline 600 ft. (180 m)
• Overall: 610 ft (185.9 m) • Overall: 610 ft (185.9 m)
Beam: • 63 ft. (20.2 m) • 66 ft (20.1 m) • 66 ft (20.1 m)
Height: • 113 ft. (34.5 m) • Data is not available • Data is not available
Draft: • 20 ft. mean (7.5 m) • 25 ft (7.6 m) • 25 ft (7.6 m)
Propulsion: • 4 Babcock & Wilcox, 634 psi boilers
• 4 GE geared steam turbines
• 4 Screws
• 100,000 hp (75 MW)
• 4 Babcock & Wilcox, 634 psi boilers
• 4 GE geared steam turbines
• 4 Screws
• 100,000 hp (75 MW)
• 4 Babcock & Wilcox, 634 psi boilers
• 4 GE geared steam turbines
• 4 Screws
• 100,000 hp (75 MW)
Speed: • 32.5 knots (60 km/h) • 32.5 knots (60 km/h) • 32.5 knots (60 km/h)
Complement: • 1,185 officers and enlisted • 1,395 officers and enlisted • 1,395 officers and enlisted
Armament: • 6 x 6" / 47 guns (2 triple turrets)
• 6 x 5" / 38 guns (3 dual mounts)
• 1 twin-rail Talos launcher
• 3 x 6" / 47 guns (1 triple turret)
• 2 x 5" / 38 guns (1 dual mount)
• 1 twin-rail Talos launcher
• 3 x 6" / 47 guns (1 triple turret)
• 2 x 5" / 38 guns (1 dual mount)
• 1 twin-rail Talos launcher
Armor: • Belt: 3.25 - 5 in.
• Deck: 2 in.
• Turrets: 1.5 - 6 in.
• Barbettes: 6 in.
• Missile Magazine: 1.5 in
• Belt: 3.25 - 5 in.
• Deck: 2 in.
• Turrets: 1.5 - 6 in.
• Barbettes: 6 in.
• Missile Magazine: 1.5 in
• Belt: 3.25 - 5 in.
• Deck: 2 in.
• Turrets: 1.5 - 6 in.
• Barbettes: 6 in.
• Missile Magazine: 1.5 in





Significant Dates of Cleveland-Class to
Galveston-Class Conversions


Galveston-Class Cruisers - Significant Dates
Event USS Galveston
CL 93 / CLG 3
USS Little Rock
CL 92/ CLG 4 / CG 4
USS Oklahoma City
CL 91 / CLG 5 / CG 5
Original Builder Cramp Cramp Cramp
Laid Down 27 Aug 43 06 Mar 43 08 Dec 42
Launched 22 Apr 45 27 Aug 44 20 Feb 44
Suspended 24 Jun 46 N/A N/A
Commissioned N/A 17 Jun 45 22 Dec 44
Decommissioned N/A 24 Jun 49 30 Jun 47
Designation
Changed
04 Feb 56 23 May 57 23 May 57
Conversion
Started
15 Aug 56 30 Jan 57 21 May 57
Converted at Philadelphia NSY New York Shipbuilding Hunters Point, San Francisco
Recommissioned 28 May 58 03 Jun 60 07 Sep 60
Conversion
Completed
30 Jun 58 05 Jun 60 31 Aug 60
Designation
Changed
N/A 30 Jun 75 30 Jun 75
Decommissioned 25 May 70 22 Nov 76 15 Dec 79
Stricken 21 Dec 73
22 Nov 76 15 Dec79
Fate Soldto and scrapped by National Metal and Steel Corporation. Preserved as a museum at
Bufflo & Erie County Naval Park, Buffalo, NY.

Sunk as a target during Operation "Tandem Thrust"
in the Western Pacific Ocean.


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